Tag: korea

Game Industry Joins the ‘Prayers for the Sewol Ferry’ Wave, NC-Nexon-eSports Halts Conventions

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The Korean game industry has joined in on sympathizing for the recent Sewol Ferry incident, and has halted the planned events and conferences.  These decision were made in order to show their condolences for those affected.

First, Nexon and Neptune Games has canceled the <Nexon Pro Baseball Master 2014> media day scheduled on the 18th.  Neptune’s CEO Jungwook was planned to give a speech about the company’s new title and other game information.

Along with this decision, Nexon has stated: “Our prayers go to those affected by the recent ferry incident, and in our wishes that this unfortunate occurrence receives timely relief, we cancel the upcoming event.”

NCsoft has delayed its ‘<Blade & Soul> Tournament: Imjinrok’ event, which was to be held on the 19th.  NCsoft has stated: “In midst of such heartbreaking news, we wish to convey our prayers to those affected and have decided to delay the event.  We apologize for not being able to keep our promise with our users due to the sudden changes in plan.”

Naver Corporation’s ‘Band Games,’ which was to be launched on the 21st, has now also been delayed.  Naver has also announced its message via the SNS service ‘Band’: “We wish for the safe return of all those missing from the Sewol Ferry incident.”

The Korean e-Sports Association (KeSPA) and a portion of the game industries has halted their promotions.  Announcing on behalf of all associated with the association, KeSPA conveyed their prayers for those affected and canceled all events, including ‘L.o.L Masters,’ ‘Family e-Sports Festival,’ and more.

NHN Entertainment has also conveyed their condolences for those affected by integrating a ‘condolences and prayers banner’ in all of its games in operation.  Furthermore, its <Winning Eleven Online 2014>’s testing schedule has also been delayed.

Others in the game industry have decided to keep their original schedule for updates because they believe them to be a promise with the users, but are planning to keep other events and promotions to a minimum.  With the sinking of the Sewol Ferry off the southern coast of South Korea on the 16th, many in the entertainment industry (music, film, sports, gaming, etc) have decided to delay or cancel public events in respect of those affected.

2013 TOP 10 Korean Game Issues

What were the most popular topics in Korean gaming industry in 2013? Here’s TOP 10 news.

1.     Mobile, Mobile, Mobile…

With the hit mobile games like <Anipang for KAKAO> in 2012, mobile game category has made the entire environment of Korean game industry changed. We would call 2013 as the year of mobile games.

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<Chachacha>, <Magumagu 2013>, <Modoo Marble>, <Taming Monsters> from Netmarble, <Windrunner> from Wemade, <Cookie Run> from Devsisters are the most favorable mobile games in Korea. KAKAO Talk has become truly the best mobile game platform in Korea.

In terms of the market size, the mobile gaming industry grew up to $115.6 million last year, which has increased by 51.4% from what of 2012.

2.     Gamevil Acquired Com2uS

It shocked everyone in the industry when we heard two of top Korean mobile game companies became one in October. Gamevil took over Com2uS by acquiring 21.37% of Com2uS’s shares for $466.7 million. It would be remained as the most big deal in Korean game industry for a while.

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The two companies are the best in marketing experience, the global user pool as well as the brand awareness throughout the global mobile game market. They both have mobile game platforms called Gamevil Circle and Com2uS Hub respectively, which hold lots of users beside KAKAO Talk. In addition, both have 10 years of developing mobile game experience.

We are curious what they, as one, could reach fruition in 2014.

3.     Restructuring

Even though the mobile games made unexpected hit, some companies had to restructure themselves. Neowiz Games, Ntreev, Mgame, Dragonfly, Hanbitsoft, Liveplex and GREE Korea are among them.

4.     Continuing of League of Legends fever

The whole Korean gaming market seems to still be in the grip of the League of Legends(a.k.a LOL) fever. The game has been #1 at PC Bang ranking for 75 weeks consecutively and has been loved by lots of gamers whenever a regional or a world championship LOL e-sports events take place.

As Korea is a host-country for 2014 LOL world Championship, the LOL would continue its popularity and become the most popular e-sports game in Korea as well.

5.     Politicians represent the Game Industry

After a representative of Minju-dang, the opposition party, has become the chairman of KeSPA(Korean e-sports Association) in January, a Congressman from Saenuri-dang, the ruling party, has been inaugurated as the chairman of K-IDEA(Korea Internet digital entertainment association) in February.

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It is still highly controversial over having such high powered politician sit as the representatives of the industry. We have no idea what would be brought until the time would tell us.

6.     POPPIC happening

First of all, POPPIC is a publisher who publishes a series of books containing various illustrations created by amateur artists. The problem is that they have not paid the artists properly and fully. The worst is that they did not only pay artists, but also did not treat them correctly. Instead they abused the pure passion of the amateur. The artists should be treated correctly even though they are not pro yet.

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7.     G-Star crisis

Before G-Star 2013 was held, there were quite a stir. A publisher like Wemade declared to boycott G-Star this year in order to protest against the latest consideration of government – 1% additional taxation on the gaming industry.

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NCsoft, Neowiz Games, Webzen and Com2uS have also decided to boycott the event after deep considerations. Lots people worried whether the event could even be held as normal.

Fortunately, G-Star 2013 achieved a quite success with the largest B2B section ever.

8.     GTA V hits Korea

2013 would be the happiest year for console gamers because lots of big name titles were released such as <GTA V>, <Last of Us>, <Bioshock Infinite>, <Tomb Raider Reboot> and <Monster Hunter 4>.

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For the most, <GTA V> was suffered from a short supply because too many gamers wanted to play it during the thanksgiving holidays. The game has been sold over 100 million copies in Asia only. Since Korea is not the best place for console gaming, the hit of GTA V is unusual phenomenon.

9.     Next Generation Consoles out

When talking about 2013, we cannot omit the release of the next generation consoles – PS4 and Xbox One. PS4 was released first in Korea on the 17th of December. Since Xbox One will be released in 2014 in Korea, the console war in Korea is ahead in 2014.

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10.   Gaming Becomes One of the Major Four Addictions

Out of many gaming issues in 2013, movement to legislating the games as one of the four major addictions was the biggest and the most critical. Since the bill was proposed in April, it became an huge issue throughout the country. The bill suggests that the games are an addictive material along with alcohol, gambling and drugs.

It has been tabled for now. However, the argument would be continued since some congressmen still insist the bill to be established.

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Regulations on Korean gaming industry, what do current developers have to say about it?

Translated by Jeff Lee from Kiyat Games (https://www.facebook.com/KiyatGames)

Korea Games Development Association, “Public investigation initiated for game development regulation”

An investigation has begun, one purposed to research the opinions of the game developers of Korea regarding the recent regulations on the gaming industry.

The Korea Games Development Association (KGDA) and The Korea Association for Policy Studies (KAPS) have both announced their initiation of the “2013 Game Development Regulation Awareness Investigation” on October 18th.  Starting from October 21st to November 22nd, the survey will be taken via online forms by Korean game developers, and the survey contents will be created and managed by KAPS.

KAPS has announced their intention to gather the opinions of Korean game developers regarding the recent regulations put upon them, and to raise public awareness of the current situation.  The association’s worries are as follows: The recent regulations have not only brought upon negative public image of the industry, but the situation is also decreasing the workers’ morals, and will ultimately end with a significant downfall of the industry.

President Lee Seung-Hun of the association has said “In the case that the current negative image of the gaming industry is proven to be directly related to its downfall, we plan to take procedures in presenting our concerns on the outlook of the creative economy.”

Professor Kwan Hun-Young of KwangWoon University, who is in charge of the investigation has said: “This is the first time we have ever analyzed the industry’s effectiveness and employment via an emotional approach.  We plan to investigate the situation through a balanced and thorough survey.”

This isn’t the first time that Korean game developers have moved against such regulations.  The Korean Game Development Foundation, who is currently in midst of establishing a corporate body, has previously presented their discontent with the regulations put forth by Congressman Hwang Woo-Yuh on the 14th, criticizing his catch phrase “Regulations in the interest of children.”

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Korean Mobile Game Market Growing Fast

Domestic mobile game market is occupying almost 10% of the entire game market in Korea.

According to the Korean White Paper 2013 from Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA), the total revenue of domestic mobile game market has reached $754 million. This is equal to 8.2% of the total game market in Korea. If we omit the revenue from PC-Bang and Arcade Game markets, it is occupying about 10.1%.

The amount of export of mobile games in 2012 is about $168 million, which is an increase of 400% compared to that of 2011. This is equal to 6.4% of the total amount of export of game.

Korean mobile game market has flourished continuously since iPhone 3GS was released in 2009. On the other hand, the growing rate of the domestic online game market has been decreased from 20~30% to 8% in 2012.

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Saenuri Party includes ‘Gaming’ to the list of Four Addictions

Translated by Jeff Lee from Kiyat Games (https://www.facebook.com/KiyatGames)

 

Congressman Woo-yuh Hwang rules “Alcohol, Gaming, Drugs, and Gambling the Four Great Addictions”

Gaming has once again taken the center stage in the dispute for the Four Great Addictions held by the National Assembly.

Congressman Woo-yuh Hwang of Saenuri Party stated that they “must save this society from evil,” referring to the Four Great Addictions (Alcohol, Gaming, Drugs, and Gambling) in the assembly meeting held on the morning of the 7th.

“According to the Ministry of Health & Welfare, the current number of patients suffering from the Four Great Addictions are 2,180,000 for alcohol, 470,000 for online gaming, 590,000 for gambling, and 90,000 for drug addiction, totaling up to 3,330,000 (6.7% of population).  We must now pay attention to the individuals and families that are suffering from these addictions, and take action in order to heal, reform, and save our society,” said Hwang.

Hwang related gaming to crimes that had occurred in the past in order to make his point during the dispute, and referred to the occurrences as “tragedies caused by addictions that kept people from properly distinguishing between the fantasy and the real world.”

Along with his previous statements, Hwang asserted that “the current gambling presence in Korea has to be contained.  We must set up a national addiction management department and establish procedural rehabilitation methods to free the Republic of Korea from the chains of the Four Great Addictions.”

Korean gaming industry is in awe and at a loss of words after hearing Hwang’s words.  This is mostly due to the fact that Hwang’s recent actions are indicative of Saenuri Party’s intensions in endorsing relevant legal measures previously put forth by Congressman Ue-Jin Shin last April.

They have put alcohol, drugs, gambling, and games all on the same pedestal and the fact that the game industries are against the government’s direct intervention clearly shows the reason behind the opposition.  Unlike other addictions mentioned, gaming and internet addictions are still a subject to be studied, and have yet to be classified as a medical condition.

Even in the case of the no-intention crime Hwang had mentioned in his dispute, gaming addiction was titled as the reason behind the crime only due to the fact that he had a gaming session before the act of the crime.  The criminal himself had confessed his personal school-related issues to be the reason behind his crime, and the court had also ruled gaming addiction to be an unfit reason.

One game industry personnel had said: “we are very shocked that excessive gaming is put in the same addiction category as alcohol, drugs, and gambling and that the government wishes to take direct intervention.  We don’t understand Congressman Hwang’s intentions in putting shackles on a high value industry such as the gaming industry when he promises to support mid-level enterprises and to reach 70% employment.”

Furthermore, the personnel went on to say that “Korea Internet & Digital Entertainment Association (K-IDEA) had gathered for a meeting last week and the group President Kyung-Pil Nam, an associate of Saenuri Party, encouraged participation in the upcoming G-STAR 2013.  However, the negative viewpoints on the gaming industry from Congressman Hwang of the same Saenuri Party really puts a damper on the party’s decision to participate in G-STAR.”

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